Kaepernick, Reid feel the love during iconic Williams showdown

It did not matter that Serena Williams' US Open meeting with Venus was one-sided. This was still a hugely special occasion on Arthur Ashe.

Serena and Venus Williams on Arthur Ashe   -  Getty Images

On Friday night in New York, Arthur Ashe Stadium was undoubtedly the place to be.

Forget the fact Serena Williams dropped just three games in beating her sister Venus to reach round four of the US Open.

Regardless of what transpired on the court, this was always going to be an occasion to savour - as these two modern-day queens of Queens went head to head at the US Open, under the lights of its primary show court, for quite possibly the last time.

Although many spectators would have surely wished for a closer contest, as evidenced by the growing support for Venus throughout the second set, there was never a sense of this being a damp squib.

Instead, those inside the stadium enjoyed a celebratory and reverential atmosphere, one that spoke of the crowd's appreciation for the Williams' sisters extraordinary impact.

Serena and Venus have claimed a remarkable 30 grand slam singles titles between them, the younger sibling winning 23 alone with the aid of seven victories over her sister in major finals.

ALSO READ: 'Untouchable' Serena played her best match against me – Venus

Yet numbers alone do not even begin to touch upon what they have achieved in transcending their sport as global icons and breaking down barriers in the process.

On the morning of their latest match, John McEnroe labelled Serena and Venus' enduring success as "the greatest story in 100 years in tennis, probably sports".

"Two sisters from Compton who were able to break into the sport of tennis, which is obviously predominantly white, and dominate the way they have, it's been amazing," McEnroe told ESPN.

There was an overwhelming outpouring of positive, supportive emotion from fans when the cameras were on Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, during the Williams sisters showdown.

 

With that in mind, it felt somewhat fitting that arguably the loudest roar of the night on Ashe came during a change of ends, at 4-1 in the second set, when former San Francisco 49ers stars Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid appeared on the stadium's big screen.

Kaepernick and Reid have faced stinging criticism from certain quarters as a result of their protests against police brutality and racial inequality, but there was an overwhelming outpouring of positive, supportive emotion from fans when the cameras came across the pair on Friday.

ALSO READ: Serena delights in best display of year versus Venus

After her victory, Serena was asked about the cheers in a news conference and replied: "I think every athlete, every human, and definitely every African American should be completely grateful and honoured how Colin and Eric are doing so much more for the greater good. They use their platform in ways that is really unfathomable."

Those comments followed Serena's on-court interview, in which she reflected on the difficulties of competing against her sister.

"It's not easy. She's my best friend. But we all know that there's more to life than just playing each other and playing tennis," she added.

The spine-tingling reaction to Kaepernick and Reid hammered that point home, ensuring the most special of occasions was all the more memorable.